Like many of you, I’ve been glued to my TV watching a fair amount of news regarding Hurricane Sandy and its impact on the east coast. And of course, so many stations fluctuate between storm and election coverage. I was reflecting on how these top news stories share a common denominator – the need for perseverance.
I think you’d agree that this is one of the defining characteristics of our country. Success, however you might choose to measure it, rarely comes swiftly. People who succeed possess perseverance. Loads of it.
I happen to love that about our country. I love that the impossible can still be surmounted. I love that grit and determination still count. I love that people who persevere make things happen – large and small. This quality is behind every book I pick up, too. I know a dedication to showing up at the keyboard, tears, elation, abandoned stories, a worn out library card and (possibly) chocolate cupcakes came before it's publication. There's no getting around these highs and lows; no short-cut to hard work. None.
Here’s a little glimpse of what my journey looked like. It doesn’t say anything special about me, other than the fact that I never stopped writing and putting myself out there. Most writers I know do the same thing.
|1997: Remember when writers got actual rejections in the mail box?|
|1997: I submitted a short story to the Hemingway Short Story Competition....|
|...and received an honorable mention. Encouragement!|
|1999: I started writing screenplays and here we learn I was|
writing the "wrong material" at the time. This was my first screenplay, so I tried something new.
|2000: I won 7th place with a new script. Encouragement!|
|2006, I finally got a YES for publication of my first adult novel.|
|2008: After 18 months, the publisher folded. Now I know this happens more than we'd like to admit, but it felt crushing at the time.|
|2009: Back to the drawing board with a new novel.|
|...turned out to be THIS little piece of work that will publish in 2013. Encouragement!|
As a writer, you have to love words. This is one of my favorite words.
Perseverance (noun) 1. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. (from dictionary.com)
If you want to lead the free world, help rebuild your shining city, write a novel or pursue your dream, you've got to load up on this quality. And I hope you do!
Karen Harrington is the author of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, a middle grade novel from Little Brown Books for Young Readers, July 2013. Visit Karen at her website or on her Goodreads page.